Adobe Reportedly Bringing Full Photoshop to the iPad

Posted on July 13, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS with 62 Comments

Microsoft Edge Beta is Available on iPad

Adobe is reportedly planning to bring its flagship Photoshop app to the iPad. The company is currently going through a multi-year strategy-shift which involves transitioning its desktop apps to a cross-platform architecture. This will allow the firm to make full-version of its desktop apps available across mobile devices, without compromising the desktop experience.

Photoshop will be the first app to get a full version on the iPad, followed by Illustrator. Adobe is currently developing a full version of Photoshop on the iPad, and the company plans to introduce it at its MAX conference in October. A public release won’t happen until 2019, though.

“My aspiration is to get these on the market as soon as possible. There’s a lot required to take a product as sophisticated and powerful as Photoshop and make that work on a modern device like the iPad. We need to bring our products into this cloud-first collaborative era,” said Adobe’s chief product officer of Creative Cloud.

Adobe’s next-gen applications will also bring the ability to make edits on the fly. Creatives apparently want to be able to make edits on the fly on Adobe applications across all their machines, and being able to sync their projects across all their devices will be quite helpful.

The firm won’t completely replace the existing Photoshop app on the desktop with the “modern” version. These modern apps will have mobile-friendly interfaces and will be delivered alongside the existing desktop versions of Photoshop at first. Once they mature and are competent of replacing Photoshop on the desktop, Adobe could end-up replacing the full desktop Photoshop app with the modern, cross-platform version.

For Apple, Adobe launching a full version of Photoshop on the iPad is a huge breakthrough. For years, Microsoft’s Surface devices — especially the Surface Pro — undercut iPads like the iPad Pro by being able to run full versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps. With the launch of Photoshop on iPad, that could soon change, and Apple’s iPad could be the one with more powerful Creative Cloud apps in a few years time.

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Comments (64)

64 responses to “Adobe Reportedly Bringing Full Photoshop to the iPad”

  1. lpaso

    And yet MS still refuse to invest where the market is heading : the mobile devices.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to lpaso:

      What specifically? You can get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Microsoft Launcher, and Cortana to name a few. They're building a phone companion app, which, if is as good as promised could be really cool.


      And the market has spoken: most people don't want Windows based phones, so they're doing as best they can by putting apps where people will use them.

      • lpaso

        In reply to jbinaz:

        The US market as spoken for the rest of the world you mean. In many places, WP was near iPhone marketshare, and in some, above iPhone marketplace.

        With almost 0 marketing and 2 dev resets (WP7>WP8>W10M), that's not bad in my opinion.

        • skane2600

          In reply to lpaso:

          I'm skeptical of your claim, but in any case, the market share that matters is WP vs ALL smartphones not just iPhones. I could easily imagine that in poorer countries cheap Android phones might dominate the market.


          Besides, unless we believe Microsoft management are idiots, we know that they wouldn't give up or demphasize a product that was making a sustainable profit.

    • PeterC

      In reply to lpaso:

      At this risk of sounding like "Captain Picky Pants", MS have invested a lot, a heck of a lot. It just hasn't worked out as they and their users would have liked/hoped. For a wide variety of reasons spanning people, their ego's, poor strategy, poor implementation etc etc. Its how it is. How that changes isn't easy, although a total consumer crisis of confidence in Google/Android or apple/iOS might go some way to opening the door wide enough for a mobile OS change - possible but unlikely at the moment.


      MS will undoubtedly return to mobile in a variety of ways apart from their iOS and android apps dev work. Just don't expect a smartphone device. I feel sure by 2019/20 there will be a plethora of surface devices that fold, dock, flip (hopefully not flop) and pack huge power to get the job done, some might answer calls! if anybody actually still calls one another then of course.

      • lpaso

        In reply to PeterC:

        That's all I ask :)

        I Don't mind if it's not marketed as a smartphone but does phone calls, SMS, and what Windows can do right now.

        In fact, just add the telephony stack from W10M to Windows 10 on ARM, and that's OK for me :)

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to PeterC:

        MS will undoubtedly return to mobile in a variety of ways apart from their iOS and android apps dev work.


        I think they are waiting to see how Surface Go is received before they decide what to do with Andromeda.

        • PeterC

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          yes I reckon so too, I suspect they will look to see how many *new buyers* come on board versus existing surface/office customers adding to their equipment list. Thats the pool of marketable first buyers for any andromeda type device, IMO.

      • pecosbob04

        In reply to PeterC: "a total consumer crisis of confidence in Google/Android or apple/iOS might go some way to opening the door wide enough for a mobile OS change"
        When your marketing strategy is dependent on the competitors shooting themselves in the foot the battle is over.


      • truerock2

        In reply to PeterC:

        Oh... your correct. There are a lot of people who never actually talk on their iPhone.


        Microsoft could replicate the iPhone experience by providing a cell-radio in each Surface - or making linking the Surface to an iPhone (tether) easy and automatic.


        Microsoft needs to sell a 6 inch Surface that looks exactly like an iPhone X


        Wait... Microsoft needs to sell a 6 inch surface that IS EXACTLY like an iPhone X

    • skane2600

      In reply to lpaso:

      What?? MS almost screwed the pooch trying to invest in mobile devices. They'd most likely be in a stronger position today if they had ignored it.

  2. Waethorn

    "Modern" is the new buzzword for underpowered toy computer-like doodads that put an emphasis on mobility for all the pointless button-pressing, tight-jeaned Valley hipsters that do "work" in Starbucks and are more enamored with a brand than functionality, but see a computer with some balls as some kind of archaic thing.

    • Addkeyboardtoipad

      In reply to Waethorn: Yeah, I really hate how my iPad battery can last the entire workday, and be used (daily for two years and counting) for multiple tasks for my business. But I suppose its only “real work” and a “real business” if the “computer” I’m using has a seperate tower, display, mouse and keyboard that runs Windows. Why is it so dificult for people to understand that not everybody sits at a desk all day? I can’t help you though, with your fixation on tight-jeaned hipsters.


      • Waethorn

        In reply to Addkeyboardtoipad:

        There are no killer business apps for iPad. Sorry, but that's just a fact. It's why large-scale enterprise companies got over the hype and stopped buying them.

        • Addkeyboardtoipad

          In reply to Waethorn: I don't think that's a fact. Again, your definition of business is limited to . . . "large scale enterprise companies". Yep, that's the only type of business that exists. Obviously an iPad doesn't do everything, but I see iPads being used for so many different tasks in so many different areas, areas where it would be a huge inconvenience to use a device with a keyboard attached. It's just another tool at our disposal, and to dismiss it as a toy says more about you than it does about the actual usefulness of the device. I'm into tech as much as the next guy, but not to the point where I feel like I need to belittle a product that I wouldn't buy for myself.


        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to Waethorn:

          There are no killer business apps for iPad.


          Meh. There could be. That is the thing about software. But it isn’t cost effective anymore to target a specific platform for “business” apps.


          (There’s also a problem with the term “business” but I’ll ignore that for now.)


          I assume you’re referring mostly to “line of business” style apps, traditionally written in “win32”.


          Most companies (and enterprises) learned their lessons writing to a specific proprietary platform.


          They are now (and many have been for at least a decade) converting everything possible to web platforms.


          This is actually bad for Windows. But it can be good for Microsoft (as they are busy porting things that make sense to web as well).


          I can virtually guarantee you: no new code will be written for greenfield projects that targets Windows tech outside of MS or their partners.


          Not even for Surface Go or Andromeda.


          Those devices, along with macOS, will get installable web apps (PWAs) at best.


          Android and iOS still have decent chance at getting native apps. But in most cases (for “business” software) will get lesser-featured hybrid apps or the same installable web apps.

        • Greg Green

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Essential Mobile Apps for Plumbing Businesses, from smart service dot com.


          what made me look was some HVAC ducting apps I came across.


          Also 10 iPad Apps for Engineers from ASME.


          25 Apps Every Engineer Should Download, from a blog.


          7 BEST IOS APPS FOR CAD USERS, DESIGNERS AND ENGINEERS from investintech dot com


          Think of major professions and trades and there’s a world of apps for each.



        • PincasX

          In reply to Waethorn:

          " killer business apps"  are buzzwords used by people that work in places like Future Shop fixing PCs to make it sound like that actually know something about how business works.


          Any data to prove "large-scale enterprise companies got over the hype and stopped buying them"?

        • Bob Shutts

          In reply to Waethorn: Foreflight, Jeppesen Charts, FlightBag, Office, Adobe Suite (coming), Affinity Photo, to name a few.


      • roastedwookie

        In reply to Addkeyboardtoipad:

        I assure you many understand you, except for a few desperate MS fanboys.

  3. lvthunder

    It sounds like they are going to do with Photoshop what they did with Lightroom. A cloud based version that runs everywhere and a classic version that just runs on the desktop.


    The biggest advantage to me is I already know how to use Photoshop so if they put it on the iPad I could work on photos taken with either the iPad or my iPhone and not have to learn a new workflow.

  4. Angusmatheson

    The problem as I see it for Windows is that the developers are all going one way. All new apps are made iOS then android and maybe web. Some old x86 apps are being made into iOS (like here)/Android/web. But very few are being rewritten as universal apps for the windows store (iTunes is the big exception) and none are being remade as x86 apps. The world is moving away from x86 and has largely ignored the windows store. Windows has legacy apps. But overtime that will become less meaningful.

    • asdcxzfv

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      I agree 99 percent with you.


      Except who said iTunes is being rewritten? It is just a repackaged win32-app, just like Office, Spotify, WhatsApp, PaintNet, … and all the other software in the store with a decent desktopUI

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      That's why they are pushing Windows aside and most all their effort into Azure. That's where their future lies. It's going to take Windows a long long time to die though.

      • skane2600

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Such sweeping generalizations. Obviously more development is required for iOS and Android to catch up to what already exists on Windows. Some changes in those OS's will probably have to happen first to get there. If they ever reach that level of coverage I'd expect development on those OS's will slow except for trivial or mobile-specific apps.

  5. dstrauss

    Revenue streams - that's all that matter anymore, regardless what's best for users, so long as you can monetize it and make them pay monthly.

  6. Igor Engelen

    Haven't they lost the battle by then. Hearing a lot of things about Affinity Photo and Designer from Serif Labs.

    The apps are currently only 14,99€ each.

  7. colin79666

    This will be iPad Pro only really unless they get serious and do a full rewrite. Having just deployed Adobe CC to a few hundred machines I'm amazed at the bloat Adobe have let their apps get to (full Adobe CC install package is about 20GB of which Photoshop is over a gig). Affinity Photo is breath of fresh air and proves there is no need for apps (looking at you iTunes) to be so massive in install size to deliver features.

  8. woodward5418

    Funny how this is announced just a day or so after Affinity launches their Designer program (vector based illustrator type application) and months after Affinity produces their Photo application which has caught a lot of peoples attention. I have used the Photo app and quickly grabbed the Designer app and both are very capable. They really have the ability to help the iPad become more of the production machine versus the consumption model it is so good at. Quite honestly, doing vector work on the iPad with the right app is very easy and thus far for me Designer is excellent for my case use. For others it might have its share of limitations. Once again, timing is funny that they would announce it this far in advance and so soon after a competitor launch.

    • ulrichr

      In reply to woodward5418:

      Yes, the Affinity applications are great. Photo in particular is very powerful, and their video tutorials on Vimeo and YouTube are very comprehensive and make it easy to learn. And best of all, there are versions of this for my PC, which can be purchased from the Microsoft Store. They are currently 30% off.

  9. truerock2

    "The firm won’t completely replace the existing Photoshop app on the desktop with the “modern” version. These modern apps will have mobile-friendly interfaces and will be delivered alongside the existing desktop versions of Photoshop at first. Once they mature and are competent of replacing Photoshop on the desktop, Adobe could end-up replacing the full desktop Photoshop app with the modern, cross-platform version."


    Well duuuuhhh....


    Who would be stupid enough to stop supporting the desktop GUI version while trying to get the mobile-touch GUI version off the ground (well... except for Microsoft). And note - the consideration that it might not be able to ever replace the desktop GUI with the touch GUI

  10. skane2600

    Did I miss the quote from an Adobe official explicitly stating "we are going to bring full Photoshop to the iPad"? I don't think the word "full" can be assumed.

  11. lezmaka

    If it's anything like what they did with Lightroom, then it's going to be nowhere near "full" Photoshop. Until they show otherwise, I'm expecting them to rename the existing desktop version to Photoshop Classic CC and then the "new" Photoshop CC will be a stripped down version of the desktop, missing plenty of features. I mean Lightroom CC was released late last year and they just recently added the ability to copy/paste settings onto multiple photos, not to mention the ability to choose individual settings to use.

  12. YouWereWarned

    Serif's Affinity Photo for iPad is here now. So who needs to wait?

  13. roastedwookie

    MS will never get this kind of commitment from devs ??? Good job Adobe!

  14. Bats

    This is a GAME CHANGER!


    This releases graphic designers and photo editors from their dependency on Windows and further advances the desktop into the sunset.


    I don't believe what Meddhi said when he stated, "For years, Microsoft’s Surface devices — especially the Surface Pro — undercut iPads like the iPad Pro by being able to run full versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps." To be honest, I don't know serious graphic design professional who uses Surface devices to do their work. The UI buttons are too small. With Adobe changing the UI, that makes much more sense to do.


    When Photoshop gets to Android or ChromeOS, Windows would even be more in trouble.

  15. MikeGalos

    Short version:


    Adobe has FULL "Lightroom Classic" and stripped down but touch friendlier "Lightroom CC"


    Pros and serious amateurs use Classic for actual production work but may do some upfront work with CC.

    Entry level amateurs use CC as a primary tool and are proud of themselves for using "Lightroom" and still pay Adobe the same monthly subscription fee as the pros.


    Now they're going to do the same for Photoshop


  16. EKUdacci

    To me, for Adobe, it would make more sense to develop a PWA version of Photoshop, so it works on all platforms.... Ipads, PC's, Mac's, Linux, ChromeOS, etc.

    • lpaso

      In reply to EKUdacci:

      A soft like Photoshop would be, imho, really hard to develop as a PWA :/

    • Ivan19997

      In reply to EKUdacci:


      It's not possible. PWA somehow is very limited. It's not possible to develop any sophisticated software using this technology. So you won't see PWA versions of video/3d/audio editing software anytime soon.

      • truerock2

        In reply to Ivan19997:

        I disagree. In the mid-90s I developed a floorplan design tool that ran in Internet Explorer. It used a mouse to move furniture and walls around... but, a finger or stylus would have worked just as well. This was with pure HTML... no VB or IE extensions.


        Back in those days, a developer had complete control over Internet Explorer and could hide/modify title bars, menus, etc... such that anyone would have been unaware that Internet Explorer was involved. My floor-plan app operated exactly like a native Windows 98 app.


        About that time, Microsoft (and other people) became concerned that anyone could turn Internet Explorer into any kind of application interface. A fellow developer created an Internet Explorer app that looked exactly like Windows 98 and it freaked a lot of people out. It was considered a security threat.



        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to truerock2:

          I disagree. In the mid-90s I developed a floorplan design tool that ran in Internet Explorer. 


          With due due respect to your floor plan design tool, professional art software is extremely complex.


          They have to to deal with bitmap and vector graphics, multiple layers, all sorts of blending and filtering effects.


          I would imagine it would be quite difficult to support in a web browser.


          Also, I doubt they want to tie creativity of new features to what browser engineers are able / willing to implement.

    • truerock2

      In reply to EKUdacci:

      Oh... another 1990s story. I was on a team that was testing alpha versions of the IBM OS/2 operating system. One version of OS/2 used a browser as the desktop GUI, replacing the original GUI that had been co-developed by IBM with Microsoft involvement.


      The OS/2-browser-desktop-GUI was better than Windows 3.1 and the original OS/2 desktop GUI.


      Oh... wait I'm starting to remember...


      OS/2 didn't have a "Start" button or any kind-of application-launch-pad. Lotus developed a application-launch-bar for OS/2 and Microsoft came out with the "Start" button for Windows 95.


      All of a sudden, the whole idea of desktop icons started to not look like the future. The web-browser as desktop idea lost interest as application-launch-bars gained attention.




  17. red.radar

    It they are going for cross platform compatibility...Can it be Linux desktop compatible ..... please ?

  18. rameshthanikodi

    It's kind of strange that Adobe took such a long time to do this. They were slow to even add touch/pen support in full photoshop. I don't know who's in charge at Adobe but I hope they realize that they're really slow with this stuff. Affinity Photo should have never had a chance to dent Photoshop's mindshare. Adobe left the door open.

  19. ben55124

    Do these creative cloud apps run on a server and the client is just a remote desktop equivalent? In that case may as well throw in $150 chromebooks.

  20. wright_is

    It will be interesting to see how they accomplish this, given that the current version of Photoshop recommends at least 8GB RAM and the multiple GB of scratch space it needs when working on larger images...

    I think this means a complete re-architecture of how Photoshop works.

  21. Greenberry Woods

    As of 2017, Adobe's Creative Cloud runs on Azure and  I'm pretty sure that a good portion of their cross-platform development is happening using .NET Core and / or Xamarin.  This is where Microsoft wins here.  Windows will just be another client OS.

  22. PincasX

    Holy crap! Someone writing for thurrott dot com didn't report a rumor as fact! I almost fainted.

  23. karlinhigh

    This will allow the firm to make full-version of its desktop apps available across mobile devices, without compromising the desktop experience.


    "Without compromising the desktop experience." Then go for it, Adobe.

  24. Orin

    I'm surprised I didn't see this question asked: How will this work without mouse support?

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to Orin:

      I'm surprised I didn't see this question asked: How will this work without mouse support?


      It is very difficult to draw with a mouse.


      Most graphics professionals use use some sort of direct “pen” input.


      It it has been primarily Wacom-style tablets, but the options have been expanding over the last few years.

    • truerock2

      In reply to Orin:

      I had the exact same initial thought. It now occurs to me that if there was ever an application where a stylus would work as well or better than a mouse... Photoshop and other similar apps would be it. I think Microsoft and most other developers have already figured that out.


      I guess I'm just so locked into the mouse/keyboard/PC interface I didn't think of that more quickly. I'm not an artist.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Orin:

      Because a lot of creative people already use a pen and some use a pen and a touch screen.

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